About this recipe: A Greek favourite that makes everyone think you are a master chef, yet it is sooo easy to make!! I taught a Greek friend how to make sticky toffee pud, and she taught me this fabulous recipe.
For a little variation, you could use a combination of walnuts and almonds for this recipe.
I have made Baklava for about 30 years now, ever since my greek stepmother made it during my teenage years. At first it took me about an hour to assemble, but now only about 15 minutes. Here are the shortcuts to save time. I do let the filo thaw, but do not cut the filo and do not cover it while layering. I just drape the bottom half over the dish and then fold the top half over it, "painting" a thin layer of butter quickly. It is only necessary to lightly brush on the butter, not saturate. The more wrinkles the sheet has in it, the better. You just keep putting and folding the edges and that ends up making the baklava more layered and crispy. If it turns out soggy, it's from too much butter, not the sauce. Also, when you cut the Baklava before you bake it, use a sharp knife and cut to within a half inch FROM the bottom of the dish, so then when you pour the sauce into the cooled Baklava, the sauce seeps into every layer of the Baklava, but doesn't sit at the bottom. Then, cut all the way thru after the whole thing has completely cooled. - 21 Jul 2008
I have been using this recipe for years, and I just realised I never reviewed it. I have made it dozens of times, and without fail it always impresses. You should follow these tips that are suggested by other reviewers: 1) Lightly roast nuts prior to chopping (I always use walnuts). 2) Make 1 1/2 times sauce recipe calls for. 3) Make sauce AHEAD of recipe, and put in the fridge to cool. By pouring the cool syrup on the hot baklava it will turn out crispy. For any function, family get together or holiday, I always get requests for this dessert. - 21 Jul 2008
Altered ingredient amounts. This is the second time I have tried this recipe and it just keeps getting easier. A few tricks I learned this time: Make the sauce first, before you start to do anything else with the baklava. Let it cook while you are preparing and putting everything together, and let it cool while the baklava is cooking. I got the sauce started, and then chopped and prepared the nuts (I used a variety of nuts; almonds, walnuts and pecans). I lay out my filo before I start layering and cut it to the shape of the dish I am making it in. This made the layering SO much easier. I put a piece of cling film over the filo and then the damp towel. This helps keep it from sticking to the towel. I made an extra 1/2 of the sauce recipe and it seems like the perfect amount (I doubled it last time and it seemed like too much). It took me about an hour total to prepare and assemble. CUT the baklava after assembly and before cooking, and top with butter to make everything smooth and “pretty”. Put the cooled sauce on as soon as you pull the baklava out of the oven. I let it adsorb overnight. Easy and wonderful!! I will be making this for years to come! - 21 Jul 2008